Security Flaw in iOS 9.3.1 Allows Access to iPhone Photos and Contacts

Security Flaw in iOS 9.3.1 Allows Access to iPhone Photos and Contacts
A video surfaced online yesterday purporting to show a vulnerability in iOS 9.3.1 that allows anyone to access photos and contacts on a locked iPhone without having to enter a passcode.

The YouTube video, uploaded by Jose Rodriguez and first spotted by The Daily Dot, depicts a user performing a Siri search followed by a series of relatively simple steps, one of which involves 3D Touch, limiting the exploit to iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices.


The procedure starts by invoking Siri on the locked phone by holding the home button or using the “Hey, Siri” function, and then asking the personal assistant to initiate a Twitter search. When the returned results include contact details such as an email address, a 3D Touch gesture is used on the contact information to bring up a Quick Actions menu. Tapping “Add to Existing Contact” then brings up the iPhone’s Contacts list. By selecting a contact and opting to add a photo to the entry, the phone’s photo library can also be freely accessed.

The flaw is only applicable if the iPhone owner has previously granted Siri permission to access Twitter account information as well as to Contacts or Photos, operations which require establishing ownership of the device with the passcode or Touch ID. Additionally, if the iPhone has exited a Touch ID grace period, a passcode is still required before using Siri.

Users worried about the vulnerability can protect themselves by ensuring Siri’s access to Twitter and Photos is disabled. On your device, go to Settings -> Privacy -> Twitter and if Siri is listed, turn off its access. Likewise, in Privacy -> Photos, turn any listing of Siri access to the Off position. Revoking Siri’s access to your Contacts requires the more drastic action of disabling Siri lock screen activation. To do so, go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode and turn off the Siri switch.

Apple released iOS 9.3.1 to the public last week, marking the first update to iOS 9 since iOS 9.3 launched on March 21. iOS 9.3.1 came just over a week after the launch of iOS 9.3 and brought a fix for a significant web link crashing issue that affected many iOS users.

Update: The Twitter app must be installed in order for the exploit to work.

April 5, 2016 / by / in , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Scooblrinc.com is a website owned and operated by Scooblr, Inc. By accessing this website and any pages thereof, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, as amended from time to time. Scooblr, Inc. does not verify or assure that information provided by any company offering services is accurate or complete or that the valuation is appropriate. Neither Scooblr nor any of its directors, officers, employees, representatives, affiliates or agents shall have any liability whatsoever arising, for any error or incompleteness of fact or opinion in, or lack of care in the preparation or publication, of the materials posted on this website. Scooblr does not give advice, provide analysis or recommendations regarding any offering, service posted on the website. The information on this website does not constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for, any services to any person in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful.